Fishcakes for Frazzled minds

I don’t think I’ve ever felt less relaxed after what my colleagues referred to as a holiday. What it should more accurately be described as was four days out of London while still doing Christ knows how many e-mails, monitoring bookings and answering my phone to what felt like a million pointless questions (never put your mobile number on your business card)!! Consequently I built up such an irrational head of stress and worry about how much I hadn’t managed to get through (I was on leave for f***s sake) that when sleep did eventually find me last Monday night it was punctured with terrors and sweats on how to get through some of the unreasonable phone calls that I knew I would have to deal with on Tuesday.

On a lighter note… It isn’t all whining about e-mails and anxiety issues in my life y’know.

As you might imagine cooking or shopping for food was pretty low on my list when we got back yesterday but 4 days with my parents was enough for us to crave a bit less of the meat’n’two veg kind of meal and just have something a little more simple.

This little recipe for an excellent fridge / freezer raid made life much much easier last night.

Makes 8 fishcakes (they freeze well)

For the Fishcakes

2 x Smoked Haddock fillets (240g pack from Sainsbury’s)

2 x Skinless salmon fillets (260g pack from Sainsburys’s)

2 baked potatoes (done in the microwave)

A small bunch of flat leaf parsley

1 x egg

1 x bay leaf

A pinch of cayenne pepper

2 x shallots finely diced

200 ml milk (that’s all I had in the fridge – it’s not really enough but you’re not going to use much of it afterwards so it would have been a waste to use more)

Juice of half a lemon

For the coating

150g plain flour (with a grind or two of salt and pepper in it)

Panko breadcrumbs (I used about 1/3 of a packet)

1 x egg lightly beaten

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with tin foil (if the fishcakes stick a little this makes life a lot easier with the washing up)
  • Stab the baking potatoes several times (good for stress relief) and pop them into the microwave for 10 minutes – yes I know this is sacrilege but frankly I didn’t have time to wait the hour and a half it takes to bake a potato properly and I didn’t need the skin to be crispy either.
  • While the potatoes are ‘baking’ with a dribble of light olive oil or whatever oil  you usually use to cook with gently soften the shallots until they are translucent. Put them into a big mixing bowl once they are done.
  • In the same saucepan put the salmon, milk and bay leaf and gently bring to the boil. Simmer very gently for about 5 minutes. Then with a slotted spoon transfer the fish to the mixing bowl with the shallots.
  • Repeat in the same milk with the haddock.
  • Once the microwave has pinged hollow out the potatoes and add this to the mixing bowl with the fish and shallots
  • Finely chop up the parsley and add that along with the juice of half a lemon to the mixing bowl. Stir all the ingredients so it looks like a big mush basically but also with some slightly larger lumps of fish.
  • Now for the coating. I find the least messy way of doing this is to shape your cakes. Lay them on a board and then coat them. If you shape then coat straight away you’ll end up with your final cake being full of eggy breadcrumby bits.
  • Shape your fish mush into 8 round patties that are about the diameter of the palm of your hand (I have small hands) and place them on a chopping board.
  • Wash your hands. In three separate bowls put a lightly whisked egg, seasoned floor and panko breadcrumbs.
  • Take each fishcakes and coat it in flour, then in egg then in the panko and place it on the tin-foiled baking tray.
  • I froze 4 and cooked 4 as soon as I’d made them. The four I froze sorted us right out last week!
  • Pop the tray with your chosen 4 into the oven for 25 minutes (35 minutes if cooking from frozen).
  • Serve with a courgette ribbon, edamame bean and peashoot salad with a squirt of lime juice and a squeeze of Siracha or whatever greenery you have in the fridge!

I treated myself to a naughty addition we used to do at school to make the mostly potato fishcakes more edible. Once out of the oven take a little corner of salted butter and let it melt on top. Took me right back to my days at prep school and Mrs Gittins (I think that was her name) peering out of the kitchen hatch to check we’d not left anything on our plates.


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